I once heard a description of the recent history of Afghanistan begin, “Under the communists, women appeared on television uncovered. Under the Mujahideen, women appeared on television covered. Under the Taliban, there were no televisions.”
The dominant narratives regarding Afghanistan in the West possess the unfortunate characteristic of neglecting basic facts. Instead, the timeline goes a little something like this:
1. I don’t know anything about Afghanistan before I need to.
2. The evil Soviet Union invaded.
3. The heroic United States supported the freedom fighters.
4. Something, something, something.
6. The heroic United States kicked out those bad Taliban and gave Afghanistan democracy.
This timeline might even be giving too much credit to people (including the numbskull in the white house) who feel qualified to talk about Afghanistan, despite knowing next to nothing about one of the countries that has defined so much of last century (directly and indirectly).
That should terrify you. It should also give us a moment to think about the Liberation of Afghanistan and what that ought to mean.
At different points in history, one might point to an Afghanistan that has been called “liberated”. In 1919, Afghanistan wins its independence from the British Empire. Many have called this “liberation”. As the Kingdom of Afghanistan, the country is pushed through slow waves of modernization and conservative push-back. In 1978, the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan takes power and pushes through real modernization efforts. Many have called this “liberation”. Under quick succession, Nur Muhammad Taraki, Hafizullah Amin, and Babrak Karmal try to push through sweeping land reforms, women’s rights, and social programs. This is, of course, met with terrible resistance from the “traditional” power structures and clan networks throughout the country.
It was during this period, by admission of Zbigniew Brzezinski, that Amerikkka begins funding the Mujahideen, who fight against the socialists on behalf of these misogynistic, feudal power structures.
After the Mujahideen receive support from the U$, the Soviet Union decides to send troops on December 24th, 1979 to intervene in the budding civil war. Many have called this “liberation”. Following the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan, the country is pulverized by becoming a flashpoint of the Cold War.
From 1979 on, there has essentially been endless civil war up until today.
In 1996, the Pakistan-backed Taliban (remember Benazir Bhutto) gains power and uses that power to destroy huge swaths of the country. Many have called this “liberation”. The remaining parts are destroyed by the U$-backed Northern Alliance. Many have called this “liberation”. And, most spectacularly, the full-fledged Amerikkkan imperialist occupation begins in 2001. Indeed, many have called this “liberation”.
At every major point in Afghan history, we’ve heard many say that “this (finally, this!) is the Liberation of Afghanistan.” However, pretty much every time, the deception became apparent almost immediately. To paraphrase Zizek in one of his essays after 9/11, one of the most grotesque and tragic states of existence is that of the family in Afghanistan who, when a plane passes overhead, does not know if it will drop bombs or containers of food and supplies in some faux humanitarian gesture.
The few bright moments in Afghanistan over the past century were always quickly dimmed by bullets and bombs. Afghanistan has been thrown into chaos and tragedy unequivocally due to the Amerikkkan Empire – anyone who doesn’t admit this is either lying or stupid. As Malalai Joya said in her interview above with Democracy Now!: “Imperialism and Fundamentalism have joined hands.”
The Liberation of Afghanistan, if it is ever to be a reality (rather than merely a name without that reality), will never come about as long as Amerikkka is involved. The Liberation of Afghanistan will come from the Afghan people alone, not from imperial machinations designed for the benefit of oil and gas pipelines and regional instability.
Imperialist occupation is never the solution to any problem.
When the incoherent fascist in Washington spews his bile, we should keep in mind that when he says, “The Amerikkkan people are weary of war without victory” – he means that he intends to continue this occupation by any means necessary.
We should fight exclusively for the Liberation of Afghanistan and against Dumbass Trump’s infinite stupidity.